Who Were the Lowcountry’s First Citizens?

The annual commemoration of Columbus Day provides an opportunity to reflect on the impact of the earliest Europeans to arrive in the New World. As a resident of coastal South Carolina, I’ve often wondered about when Europeans first made contact with the indigenous people of the Lowcountry, and who was here to greet them. To be honest, this subject hasn’t been on my historically-minded radar until recently, so I’m certainly not an expert on South Carolina’s “first citizens.” I have, however, determined to make an effort to learn more and to help spread the knowledge of our region’s earliest inhabitants, and to share that knowledge with the community.

De Soto visits Cofitachequi  in South Carolina: Library of Congress image 3c04378v

De Soto visits Cofitachequi in South Carolina

This evening at 6 p.m. I’ll be presenting a lecture at CCPL called “South Carolina’s Native Americans and First Contact with Europeans.” I’m working on a bibliography of suggested reading on this topic, as well as a timeline of European contacts with our coastal tribes in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Time doesn’t allow us to discuss every tribe that once inhabited the Palmetto State, so our focus will be those indigenous, coastal people who met the earliest Spanish, French, and English visitors. If you’d like to learn more about this topic, I encourage you to join us this evening, or let me know if you’d like to have a copy of the handouts.